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How To Make Change Manageable
Author: Marla Tabaka
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When we list our excuses out loud they often sound ridiculous. What are your excuses? Let’s examine your goals for the New Year. How can you set yourself up for success, rather than revisit failure?

It seems that with every New Year celebration comes a promise to change, create and grow. Unfortunately, too many people set themselves up for failure with promises for a new reality when the true reality is that their goals are simply too lofty. After being in this pattern for too many years we tend to resist change and stop trying to improve our lives.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who said, “If I ever get cancer I would exercise a lot more, eat nothing but greens and other healthy foods, and meditate every single day.” After her proclamation we both broke out in laughter. Why wait until you get cancer to develop a healthy lifestyle?

For some, the only significant change in life comes at a time of crisis. We are amazing beings with the ability to adapt to just about anything. But somehow it seems easier to wallow in misery, or place blame elsewhere, than it does to be proactive in creating positive change.

Today I spoke with a client who said she was tired of the lack of money getting in the way of achieving her goals and dreams. She recited a litany of things that she would like to do, accompanied by all of the financial reasons that she could not get them done. Many of her goals were achievable with a lot of creativity and no money at all. So I asked her, “Are those true statements or are they excuses?” Again, laughter.

When we list our excuses out loud they often sound ridiculous. What are your excuses? Let’s examine your goals for the New Year. How can you set yourself up for success, rather than revisit failure?

Begin by creating a short list of things you’d like to change or achieve in this New Year. Keep it at 2 or 3 goals, don’t overdo it!

A common goal is to start working out on a regular basis, so let’s use that as an example.

Goal: I will work out at my new health club 4 times a week!

Now ask yourself this question:

Is that realistic? Consider your schedule, current physical condition, and any other challenges that may interfere with your commitment. List them. Include any reasons you have used in the past to move away from this or a similar goal. They may include things like:

I can’t afford the health club; I have too many more important things to do; I have no one to watch the kids, or I’m just too tired all of the time.

If your goal isn’t realistic and manageable over a long period of time, consider revising it. It is better to achieve less than fail altogether. So our workout goal may become:

Revised goal: I will take a 30 minute power walk 3 times a week.

Now we have eliminated the cost of the health club, addressed the time issue and made the goal totally doable. But what’s really important about this revision is that you can step up the goal as you become accustomed to the benefits and routine of your workout. As you begin to gain energy from a sustained workout regime you may be motivated to start saving for your new health club membership, or cut back on something else so you can join soon. Your increased energy will also help you to be more productive so time becomes less of an issue.

Build on your smaller goals rather than fail at the overly ambitious goals. This way you will be more inclined to create ongoing change and improve your life!

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